Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ attack leaves fellow Republicans squirming (again)By Matea Gold, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis June 10 at 10:19 PMIt was a bad time for Sen. Cory Gardner to be caught in an elevator with a reporter. Donald Trump had just referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as “Pocahontas” — again — and the Republican freshman from Colorado was struggling to figure out how to respond.The term of art is actually “Fauxcahontas,” but Trump is amazingly allergic to cleverness in vocabulary.
“I think people need to be treated with respect, and that’s what we’ve demanded from everyone,” he offered.But was it racist?Gardner clammed up. He politely referred further questions to his press secretary.So it went for Republicans on Capitol Hill on Friday, forced to contend with yet another provocative comment by their presumptive presidential nominee — clambering for safety as Trump launched another boundary-pushing attack.“Get used to it,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, a Trump critic. “This is your life for the next five months.”The furor over Trump’s assaults on the impartiality of a Latino judge had just begun to subside when he lobbed two tweets Friday morning responding to Warren, who had lambasted him as a “thin-skinned, racist bully” in a speech the previous evening.“Pocahontas is at it again!” Trump wrote in one. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth.”“No, seriously — Delete your account,” Warren tweeted back. …
The real estate developer has repeatedly invoked the 17th-century Native American figure to refer to Warren, an allusion to controversy about her heritage. The senator has said she grew up amid family stories about her Cherokee lineage, but that account has not been proved.Trump began going after Warren’s claimed ancestry earlier this year, responding to the senator’s repeated slams of him as a “loser” and a bully. “Who’s that, the Indian?” he said at a March news conference when asked about Warren. “You mean the Indian?” …The “Pocahontas” line spurred chatter at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s ideas summit Friday in Park City, Utah, where some attendees said they were aghast at Trump’s many race-based lines of attack.Stuart Stevens — the chief strategist on Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, who, like Romney, has vowed not to vote for Trump — said the candidate’s use of “Pocahontas” to attack Warren was both racist and inappropriate. …Romney told CNN on Friday that he was worried Trump’s language could lead to “trickle-down racism” in the country.When asked why he persists in calling Warren “Pocahontas” and what he makes of the alarm it has caused among some Republicans, Trump responded bluntly in a statement Friday: “Because she is a nasty person, a terrible U.S. Senator, and it drives her crazy.”“The Republicans should find it offensive that she scammed the system by faking her heritage, not that I am unafraid to point that out,” he continued in the statement, which was provided by his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks. “Actually, Goofy Elizabeth, her nickname, is far worse.” …Stephanie Fryberg, an associate professor of psychology and American Indian studies at the University of Washington, said her studies have found that exposing Native American children to images of Pocahontas lowered their sense of collective self-worth.“Mr. Trump’s comments reinforce broad stereotypes of Native Americans as Indian chiefs, mascots and princesses, rather than contemporary people who are contributing to society,” she said, adding: “He’s not using the term in any way to be honorific. He using it to mock her.”Trump has repeatedly rejected the notion that he is playing to racial fears in his campaign. “I am the least-racist person that you’ve ever encountered,” he told The Washington Post on Thursday.Trump has been accused of peddling Native American stereotypes in the past. In 1993, he created an uproar at a House subcommittee hearing by testifying that “organized crime is rampant” in Indian casinos around the nation. At the time, the developer was fighting the expansion of gambling on tribal lands, a direct threat to his casino empire.Trump also questioned the legitimacy of the Mashantucket Pequots, who operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.“They don’t look like Indians to me,” he said. “And they don’t look like Indians to Indians.”That sounded more interesting than the WaPo article, which wasn’t going to tell me what Trump was talking about because the 3 reporters were having such a bad case of the vapors.So I Googled “Mashantucket Pequots leaders.”It’s hard to find online large sized pictures of the leadership of the tribe.The pictures tend to be pretty small on the tribe’s website.
In a newspaper I found:
So the Mashantucket Pequots appear to be what’s known as a tri-racial isolate. Back in 2000 60 Minutes asked “Are Pequots Reallu Pequots?”The two Indian casinos I’ve been to downplayed liquor consumption. The Barona resort was completely dry and the San Miguel had very small bars and few gamblers were drinking, even though I visited on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). I thought that was a pretty sporting attitude by management, so I’m pretty positive toward Indian casinos. But I don’t like gambling, so I don’t know if other Indian casinos are like that.From the Utne Reader 17 years ago:
Pequot Tribe Members Hit the Genetic Jackpot: How native blood paid out for some African Americansby Leslie Goffe, from EmergeMay-June 1999 If Vincent A. Sebastian Jr. didn’t tell you he was Native American, you wouldn’t know. He looks African American. In fact, for most of Sebastian’s 38 years, he was poor and black, but nowadays he’s Indian, too. He’s also rich, and one of the 600 or so members of the Mashantucket Pequot of Connecticut.Sebastian grew up aware of his Pequot (pronounced pee-kwat) ancestry, but never paid it much mind until word spread that the tribe wanted its people, scattered from New England to New Mexico, to come home. “I saw myself, back then, as just black, Afro-American,” laughs Sebastian. “Today I consider myself a black, Afro-American Indian.”Why the bizarre racial transformation? Cultural pride and ancestral roots are among the reasons, but some see a one-word answer: money.To be Pequot is to be part owner of a billion-dollar casino business that guarantees a job, free health care, education, and a housing subsidy—on or off the reservation. Before he was accepted for membership 11 years ago, Sebastian had been living in the Roger Williams Homes public housing complex in south Providence, Rhode Island, driving a tow truck, and doing odd jobs.Today, he directs the Pequot Office of Youth Services and has a stake in Foxwoods Resort Casino, the world’s largest, most successful casino complex. In fiscal 1998, Foxwoods grossed more than $660 million from slot machines alone (plus revenue from card games, roulette, pari-mutuel betting, several hotels, more than 20 restaurants, a shopping mall, and a 1,500-seat theater complex where Bill Cosby, B.B. King, and Celine Dion have appeared).Sebastian’s paternal great-grandfather’s tribe membership guaranteed his admission. In 1910 and 1930, the U.S. Census Bureau classified those with “mixed Indian blood” as “Indian.” By 1950, those once classified “Indian” were considered “other” or “Negro.” Today, in the Pequot case, the names of ancestors must appear on U.S. Census rolls for the Mashantucket reservation in 1900 or 1910. About 600 people apply for membership each year; for every person accepted, a hundred are turned away, according to the Pequot Enrollment Committee.America has been getting more federally recognized Indian tribes over the decades. For example, in 2009 the Obama Administration recognized the Shinnecocks of the Hamptons on Long Island as an official tribe after a three decade legal struggle (because they look at least as black as they are Indian), entitling them to open one casino next to the posh terrain of the National Golf Links of America and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. But from 2014:
Shinnecock Indian Nation Disbands Tribal Gaming AuthorityOct 1, 2014 10:20 AMBy Michael WrightWith the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s casino plans shelved and the specter of an FBI investigation and unsolved arson swirling, members of the tribe voted earlier this month to disband the tribe’s Gaming Authority.Support for disbanding the five-member Gaming Authority was broad but not unanimous. The vote was 110-41 for the dissolution of the authority, according to tallies shared with The Press by a tribal source. Tribal leaders have not responded to requests for information about the vote.The sentiment among tribe members about the Gaming Authority’s dealings over the last 10 years had been swung to doubt and suspicion, one tribe member said.I actually kind of like Elizabeth Warren, as I explained in VDARE back in 2003. But she and Harvard Law School claiming that she brought Diversity to HLS was pretty embarrassing because law professors, especially ones from Oklahoma, are supposed to understand how Indian tribal membership works. It’s not a one-drop rule where your belief that one of your 32 great-great-great-grandparents was a Cherokee entitles you to Pokemon Points. Either you are on the Cherokee nation membership list or you’re not.And Warren is not.[Comment at Unz.com]